Feeling a lot better today, I was able to get up early for a visit from a BT contracted engineer. I have to report an improvement in BT’s service. Despite the wait for an appointment for someone to check the Youview box, Spencer, the specialist, arrived on time, carrying a new box in case of necessity. In the event the problem was not in the box itself, but in one of the cables supplied with it. It was replaced and all is now working. The engineer used a tablet for the multitude of ‘paperwork’. This required three signatures from me, all to be made with my fingertip on the screens. All I could produce were disjointed, widely different, squiggles bearing scarcely any resemblance to anyone’s monicker, let alone mine. This is apparently quite normal.

Yesterday BT, the provider with the most complaints, bought EE, the one with the least. Maybe the new acquisition has worked a little magic.

Much as I have been drawn to venture out in the glorious sunny, yet cold, weather I have seen through the windows this week, I am still not up to it, so I undertook more scanning, this time moving forward a couple of decades to an event covered by Chris on 2nd July 1987. Having looked for one of Elizabeth’s ‘through the ages’ series, I discovered that number 69 was from Chris’s series: Derrick in bath of porridge 2.7.87

As I have a portfolio of 37 prints my brother gave me after the event, I scanned a selection for this post. You may well ask where I am and what I am doing there. Well, I am in a side-street just off Oxford Street in Central London. So close were we to the main thoroughfare that the watchers in the window must have been in an outlet in Oxford Street.Sponsored porridge bath 2.7.87Filling the bath 2.7.87Bath full 2.7.87

During the morning notices fixed to the bath announced the event and the charity, Westminster Mencap, of which I was a Committee Member, for which donations were sought.

Volunteers poured in the various ingredients and stirred them into the consistency of porridge. It was a pleasantly warm viscous mixture into which the chosen victims lowered themselves for their allotted stints.

Two slang words for a prison sentence are in fact ‘stir’ and ‘porridge’, which fact you may or may not find interesting.Medic 2.7.87Derrick 2.7.87 2

Most people dressed down for the performance. It was Chris’s brilliant idea that I should approach Moss Bros to ask them to donate an ex-hire morning suit, complete with topper, for the event. I therefore dressed up.

Jane Reynolds 2.7.87Derrick and Jane Reynolds in bath of porridge 2.7.87

The system was two in a bath for, as far as I remember, each ten minute period. My companion was Jane Reynolds, the then Director of the Association. That wasn’t particularly arduous, now was it?

Tubs of rather colder water were provided for a clean up afterwards. There was no shirking that.Derrick 2.7.87Fiona 2.7.87

Finally, Fiona was on hand with a collecting box, hopefully relieving spectators of the money they had saved in the Selfridges sale on the other side of Oxford Street.

Fish, chips, and peas from the freezer was what we enjoyed for dinner this evening. We then watched the opening match of this year’s Six Nations rugby tournament. This was England v. Wales at Cardiff. England won 21 – 16.

Sold By Spencers Of The New Forest

On a glorious spring morning Jackie drove us to Ferndene Farm Shop in Bashley Cross Road. The ground is drying up and many pools on the roads and heathland receding.
I have before photographed the shelves inside this shop which has the best produce of its kind I have sampled. The produce outside would grace any good garden centre. Like everything else they sell, all the merchandise is in tip-top condition.
A good range of garden plants and wonderfully colourful cut flowers glowed in the sunshine.
Primulasprimulas close-up
Brightly hued primulas were much in evidence.
Daffodils & hyacinthsHyacinths & violets
Daffodils, violets, and hyacinths were arrayed in trays.HeathersShrubs & heathers
Grasses etc
Less flamboyant shrubs, heathers, and grasses displayed pastel hues.
Cut flowersCut flowers 2
The most vibrant palettes had provided pigments for the roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums in the various bouquets. There were also bunches of tulips and narcissi.
Even the compost bags are attractively packaged.

From the farm shop we drove to Milford on Sea and wandered around there for a bit, then checked out Everton Nurseries. You see, Spencers’ sign in the garden of the house on which we have recently exchanged contracts to purchase, confirms that Ferndene Farm Shop, Milford on Sea, and Everton Nurseries will soon be our local resources.

 It announces:Sold sign

The farm shop’s superb smoked ham provided the meat for our salad lunch.
This afternoon I watched two Six Nations rugby matches on television. Ireland beat Italy by a lot and France beat Scotland by a little. Neither game was very inspiring, although Brian O’Driscoll enlivened the Irish performance by profitable flashes of brilliance, and Yoann Huget scored a ninety metre interception try for the French.
This evening we dined on battered cod and chips, gherkins, pickled onions and mushy peas, with which I drank a glass of Bergerac Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012.